Defense cuts Warriors down to size

By Michael Zavala

It would have been nice for the women’s basketball team to get a
two-game sweep on the road, but it knew that would be tough to pull
off.

The Broncos were just as happy sticking to their original plan
of splitting their road games after getting a solid victory last
week against an opponent that one night earlier had taken the
conference’s top team to its limit.

Cal Poly (6-6, 3-3) defeated Cal State Stanislaus at Warrior Gym
Saturday, 82-59; the night before, the Warriors nearly won in an
overtime game against the California Collegiate Athletic
Association’s top team, Cal State San Bernardino.

The Broncos’ victory came one night after they lost to No. 18
Chico State at Acker Gym, 63-51.

“To go in and finish a tough road trip with a split is great,”
said head coach Scott Davis. “We’re heading in the right direction
right now.”

With its victory, Cal Poly retained a .500 record in conference
play and is tied with Humboldt State for fifth place in the
CCAA.

The Broncos rebounded from their Friday loss in a big way
Saturday with a dominating victory against Cal State Stanislaus in
which junior Andrea Ohlssen stuck to the Warriors’ leading scorer,
Shristy Kumar, and kept her from taking any shots in the first
half. Kumar scored only one point in the game.

“Andrea kept [Kumar] from getting off shots and got her
frustrated,” said Davis.

The frustration built up in Kumar caused her to draw four fouls
and forced her to sit out much of the second half, according to
Davis.

Stanislaus was closest near the end of the first half when it
was within five, 33-28, with 4:10 remaining. However, Cal Poly
closed the opening half with a 15-1 run capped by a couple of free
throws from junior Natasha Reed, and the Broncos took a 19-point
lead into the half.

“We controlled the tempo from the start [against Stanislaus],”
said Davis.

It was more of the same in the second half. Stanislaus never got
closer than 19, and Cal Poly stretched its lead to as much as 28
before taking home the 23-point victory.

The secret to the Broncos’ success, according to Davis, was
tough defense that allowed them to get the easy baskets on the
offensive end that they were unable to get against Chico State.

“A lot of the shots we got were easy shots and good looks, and
that’s because of our defense,” said Davis. “It allowed our offense
to do well. That’s what we want – easy baskets set up by our
defense.”

Overall, Cal Poly shot 49.2 percent from the field, 17-of-23
from the free throw line and four Broncos scored in double
figures.

Freshman Reyana Colson led the Broncos with 17 points, senior
Porsche’ Kirksey scored 13 points and Ohlssen and junior Sarah
McVicar each had 10 points.

Reed also had a solid game, scoring nine points and grabbing 10
rebounds. Kirksey led Cal Poly with 11 rebounds.

Stanislaus’ Lysandra Williams led all players with 28 points in
the losing effort.

The game wasn’t as sweet the night before for Cal Poly, though,
when Chico State was able to throw the Broncos off their game.

“Chico did a good job defensively of taking away our first
option,” said Davis. “We tried to go to our second and third
options in one-on-one situations, but a lot of those ended up
turning into one-on-five situations, and we’re not going to score
often against those.”

Cal Poly had a slim 9-8 lead with 13:18 remaining in the first
half, but the Wildcats turned up the heat with a 9-0 run that left
the Broncos scrambling to catch up with them for the remainder of
the game.

“They controlled the tempo of the game,” said Davis. “We put
ourselves in the hole early.”

One bright spot for the Broncos was the solid execution of their
defensive gameplan, according to Davis – they wanted to shut down
the Wildcats’ top scorer, Audriana Spencer, and they did, holding
her to six points off a 2-for-4 night from the field.

But much to Cal Poly’s chagrin, some of Spencer’s teammates
picked up the slack.

Melissa Richardson, who has only hit 28.6 percent of her 3-point
attempts this season, made 4-of-5 3-pointers and led all scorers
with 16 points.

“We did a good job on [Spencer], but they had some role players
step up,” said Davis.

After a dismal first half during which it only shot 26.7 percent
from the field overall, Cal Poly stepped up in the second half with
32 points, but Chico State matched it point-for-point and secured
the 12-point lead it took into the break.

The Broncos shot 32.8 percent overall from the field. Senior
Ashley Moody and Colson each scored 10 points.

Senior Vanessa Dominguez, Cal Poly’s leading scorer, was held to
eight points off a 3-for-10 night from the field, while senior
Unique Anderson had seven points.

Despite the tough loss, Davis believed the road trip was
successful, especially concerning how Cal Poly was able to stick to
its defensive strengths.

“If we earn a spot in the playoffs, we’ll be a team that people
won’t want to play,” said Davis. “We’re continuing to improve every
week.”

The Broncos return to the court at home Wednesday for Pack the
Gym Night against the first place team in the CCAA, Cal State San
Bernardino, and again Friday on the road at No. 21 UC San
Diego.

Defense cuts Warriors down to size

Brandon Tan/Poly Post

Defense cuts Warriors down to size

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